Copper caper melts Yakima Ice Rink

Copper caper melts Yakima Ice Rink »Play Video
Yakima Ice Rink.

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Copper thieves struck again here in Yakima causing thousands of dollars in damage.

The real victims here aren't the business owners. They are the kids who use the building. In this case, the Yakima Ice Rink. There's concern its future could be on ice itself.

It's one of the few places that provides something for kids to do during winter. Mark Petruncio introduced his sons, Roman and Yuriy to hockey here at the Yakima Ice Rink.

"Hockey's special," Mark Petruncio said. "It's a special feeling when you've got those blades on."

"I like the defense," said Roman Petruncio.

"Scoring," Yuriy Petruncio said is his favorite thing about the sport.

It's the first time they've seen the rink without the ice. Now, there's a chance they might not see it this winter.

"They had enough time to take everything apart properly," said Christopher Sutherland, maintenance manager for the Yakima Ice Rink. "This wasn't a rush job."

Christopher Sutherland points to where thieves cut the thick copper wire that feeds electricity to the compressors.
"This machine doesn't run, we don't have an ice rink," Sutherland said.

It turns out the thieves broke into the only room not secured by the burglar alarm. What's worse? The rink's insurance policy covers liability, not theft.

"It's a pretty stout kick in the teeth," Sutherland said.

The non-profit group of volunteers that runs the old rink has $10,000 in the bank. That's enough to cover the $4,600 for the wiring, but not necessarily the labor and other repairs now needed to bring it up to code. That money was earmarked for the long-term goal of one day building a new year-round rink.

"This type of event breaks us and makes it impossible for us to keep going," Sutherland said.

Wiping out the account for the repairs could make it impossible to pay the other bills to keep the rink going. There's some fear it could be the end. Yuriy Petruncio makes it clear how he would feel if that happens.

"Sad," Yuriy Petruncio said.

"I'd be sad because I don't know what other sport to play," Roman Petruncio said.

"Unacceptable," Mark Petruncio said.

Rink managers wanted to get a new sheet of ice down by the beginning of October. At the very least, that's delayed. Any of you who want to help by donating labor, supplies or money can find out how by clicking here.